By Bianca Mendez
While NYC may be the mecca of magazine jobs, there comes a time where an editor is done with paying astronomically high rent prices and ready for a change. But, when you’re thinking of leaving the Big Apple, panic seeps, What will you do? Where will you work? Fear not; whether you’re itching to go abroad or want a change of pace in a different city, take this advice from editors who have been there and done that.
Figure out a game plan.
Picking a new city to call home is one thing, but figuring out your next career move is another. Some editors try their hand at freelancing like Julia Malacoff, freelance writer and editor who left her job as a fashion editor to move to Madrid. “I worked full time on staff for almost 7 years and had a truly amazing experience, but when I decided to go freelance I had my mind made up and definitely wasn’t pursuing any other full-time or staff job options,” says Malacoff. “I knew I wanted to be freelance after talking to other writers about what their lives were like and realizing it was the only way I could move to Europe and continue working in this industry.”
“Remember that there are more than just New York-based publications that you can write for,” suggests Melissa Romero, editor at Curbed Philly. Companies like Rodale and Meredith have headquarters in Pennsylvania and Iowa. Also, don’t be afraid of city magazines, says Katy Lindenmuth, freelance writer/editor. “Most of them could use fresh voices, and it’s a good way to wiggle your way into the local community and build up new kinds of clips.”
Line Up Your Contacts
“For writers and editors who are looking outside of NYC, nothing changes in terms of the job hunt,” says Romero. “It’s still beneficial to network and learn about a publication you’d like to write for inside and out.” And that also goes for freelance writers like Malacoff who found that the most challenging part of moving was lining up regular clients for freelance work. “If you know someone who works at a publication, reach out with some pitches and see if they need to make any assignments,” adds Romero. “Chances are they are slammed and are always looking for good writers.”
In some rare cases, your boss might even let you work remotely while you get settled. “As the Digital Director at Fitness, I was able to work part-time, remotely, when I first moved [to Virgina],” says Christie Griffin, site director at Eat This, Not That! “I will forever be grateful to my then-EIC for that generosity and for making that transition so much easier for everyone.”
Before you pack your boxes, the following factors into consideration to better prepare you for the move. “Yes, the cost of living is cheaper in other cities, but new expenses like car payments and far fewer companies and job openings can be a shock once you’ve settled in and start wondering what’s next,” says Griffin. If you’re jumping the pond, the most important thing on your agenda would be to get a visa. “Be prepared to pay the fee for your visa application and also to prove that you have enough money saved to support yourself, as most countries have a requirement for this,” says Malacoff. “Also, look into the tax rules of where you’ll be living. It’s certainly not a deal breaker but knowing what you’re getting into is important.”
Be Open To Other Opportunities
“New Yorkers sometimes have a false sense of confidence about going elsewhere since our job experience here is top-tier; but the truth is that most city magazines are totally justified in preferring staffers who have lived there for many years and know it like the back of their hand,” says Griffin. “Definitely have a game plan and be prepared to write outside your comfort zone,” suggests Lindenmuth. “My background was women’s lifestyle, but I ended up doing tech copywriting for Asurion and travel copywriting for National Geographic.” Other times, you may have to get a second job. “I ended up participating in a part-time English teaching program and was able to get a visa that way,” But, take this as an opportunity to pick up new beats, and find something new that you love. “Instead of writing only about fashion (which I of course still love!), I now get to cover everything from travel to fitness, and have even gotten to try my hand at ghostwriting,” says Malacoff.
Go For It.
If you’re itching to take on a new adventure, just do it — especially now when you aren’t married or have kids. “Living abroad has always been something I was interested in, but when my boyfriend moved to Madrid for graduate school I started to think about it more seriously,” says Malacoff. “I really love traveling and wanted to have the freedom to do it more often and less expensively.” After all, if you start missing NYC, “You can always visit,” says Lindenmuth.
Bianca Mendez is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer who has contributed to Refinery29, TeenVogue.com, Bustle and other publications. Her perfect day in NYC consists of trying the latest fitness class followed by a night of wining and dining. Check out more of her work at biancammendez.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.